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❛ᴡʜᴇɴ ɴɪɢʜᴛ ғᴀʟʟs❜

By kshahidx

Replies: 7 / 18 days ago

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  1. [Allowed] Seka

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[center [font “times” Our story starts out in the year 1813. We meet ______, a young noblewoman who is packing her bags to be sent to London, where she is to meet the man her parents have arranged for her to marry. The dreary town of Edinburgh seems to match her mood perfectly as she is not looking forward to this marriage at all. Despite how unhappy she is, she does make the most of her situation by becoming friends with some of the most respected women as she continues her final year of schooling. Her [I relationship] with ______ isn’t terrible, but lacks the spark that ______ requires when it comes to matters of the heart. Especially after bumping into ______, an attractive and charming nobleman. Despite his ability to capture everyone’s attention whenever he enters a room, she notices how aloof the gentleman is. While there is an aura that draws you to him, very few dare to approach him. He and his family seem to mind their own circle. On the night of the first ball of the school year, ______ learns why.

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In front of everyone, you are required to give your hand to your respected partner. Everyone is curious whether this year ______will actually select someone, or choose to forever remain a bachelor. When the time comes ______ stares down at the man her parents have selected for her and in embarrassment, she flees into the garden. There she is attacked by a vampire, saved from death by ______. Having known his secret, he has two choices: to kill her or take her hand in a sworn secrecy.

Despite the scandal this will cause for her and her family, ______ accepts much to ______’s relief as he does not want to kill her. ______ comes to enter ______’s dark world and the danger that follows the death of the vampire that was killed.


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The dance was exhilarating and his steady gaze had me repeatedly losing the breath in my chest. Faces spun around us, some dancing, but many simply gawking. I even caught Sarah and Isabelle’s looks of astonishment. I know they had mentioned that he hadn’t [i picked a lady,] but that could mean an assortment of things. I had thought their words meant he hadn’t [i proposed,] but by the speechless looks around us it came to mind that possibly they met he hadn’t [i at all.] Was this moment really more special than I had realized?

At times, the placement of his hands was at best [i exploring] my back but I didn’t care—truly, whole-heartedly, I was lost in the dream of this. I even wondered if I possibly was dreaming, but when he leaned into my ear and whispered my skin was ravaged my goosebumps. No, those were painfully real. I sucked in air but momentarily enjoyed the close proximity, drinking in his scent and his aura. He was graceful and eloquent—even his speech was articulated. He certainly could have been a close friend to the King with how well-mannered he had presented himself as. Down to his attire and perfect, placid skin.

His explanation was welcomed and I graciously inclined my head at his response in acknowledgement. Sarah and Isabelle would be dying for these answers and I note to be sure to relay the information to their curious minds. “A doctor?” I rhetorically ask but smugly smile to myself. I wonder… I wonder if mother and father would be happier with Mr. Lafontes than of George… I shake my head lightly but only briefly, realizing that the thought alone was scandalous. A dance was not—but anything more was questionable. Although they’d likely be excited for a man like Mr. Lafontes to be taking my hand, the likelihood of that was slim and I was betrothed. It was not the norm for women to refuse a betrothal and the proposal after. I knew George had yet to ask, but did he even have to?
The whole ordeal frustrated me. I could refuse George but likely scandal and slander would follow for my family which would leave them nearly penniless as business was all about good fortune in the [i press] and the people. Would a man like Lafontes be able to quench that though? I again internally smacked myself—a dance is just a dance. There is no guarantee he will be sweeping you off your feet after and you should not expect it. I chastise myself before his questions are direction at me. I hadn’t even had a chance to respond, so lost in my thoughts that I hoped I didn’t looked completely brainless when he was explaining his family. Hopefully the nods sufficed…

“I cannot say ambitious is the right term—I was...[I implored.”] I decide to use my words carefully, although I wanted to say [i forced] more than anyone would ever know. I wanted to continue, to redeem myself in some way, and to clutch the brief moment of normalcy the handsome stranger had provided me, but my future-husband had other ideas. He approached like a man stalking his pray, determined to reclaim his prize. Of course, that’s what I was in this era.
I sighed out loud as our hands dropped and I found my fingers curling into my palm in wanting of the strong man’s hands to return. Instead they were replaced by that of George’s, who quickly tried to continue the dance. He was adequately skilled, but I didn’t feel like I was floating upon the mahogany floor like I had with [i Joseph.] His promise left me wanting, my eyes desperately searching to find Joseph's staring back at me in between twirls as George and I moved across the floor.
I couldn’t meet George’s eyes, and he looked increasingly uncomfortable but stayed wordless. I watched him gulp—or more-so heard it. His hand was clammier than usual, as well, and I closed my eyes for a brief moment. Of course—tonight—what better night to propose. I knew it was coming, but no amount of ranting and gossiping with Emilia could prepare me for this. I may have been overreacting to the situation but when the dance came to a close and George looked deeply into my eyes, my heard dropped into my stomach. He clutched my hand with both of his, kissing it softly and letting his lips linger over the white linen of my silk gloves. I smiled awkwardly and he cleared his throat. “Annalise, I know it has not been long, but—” I pulled my hand away, panicked, and tried to appear less frazzled than I was.

[i “George,]” I whispered, “I don’t feel well, I’ll—I’ll be right back.” As if the gravity of the situation only now dropped onto my chest, I suddenly felt the burden of what I was about to do… and I fleed. It was a momentary reprieve, I knew all to well, but even those last few moments of being [i un]-engaged were worth it. I turned and walked—rushed like—out to the courtyard for a moment of peace. The onlookers surrounding the dance floor parted for my exit, and within moments I found myself hidden behind a row of perfectly sculptured trees and shrubs, a fountain softly trickling in the center. I sat on the edge of the stone structure, a hand to my chest to assist me in steadying my breath. I thought back to the look in George’s eye—he knew all too well. I didn’t want to, I really didn’t—the hesitation was obvious but I hoped it was only to him and not [i them.] I couldn’t do it… I couldn’t…

Suddenly the axis of Earth was turning as I found myself lying on the cold grass, the razor leaves prickling my bare calves. My dress was in disarray, I could feel it turning and tugging strangely around my body, and then there was blood… [i blood?] My eyes stared agape as a dark, shadowing silhouette loomed over me. I wanted to shriek but I couldn’t force it out of my throat. Pain radiated from my ankle and my wrist, and I was paralyzed by shock. The figure was mumbling and I slowly shook my head in disbelief, my lips agape and quivering. I dragged myself backwards as I felt warm liquid trickling down my neck. It was burning, too, as was most of my flesh, and my heart was now in my throat, instead of where my voice used to be. The figure took a couple of slow steps forward and I was now pressing against the dense shrub. I held up a shaking hand as a useless gesture for them to stop. My mind was foggy, incapable of stringing together coherent thoughts. I was about to die. [i “Please… Please don’t… Please…” ]
I had gotten this far. Now what? I tried not to show how nervous I was and some part of me wondered if Thomas was on to something about what he thought of me. I had no true reason to not be confident though. While it wasn’t humble to think let alone say aloud, I knew that I had much more to have. Woman want me compared to the rest of these gentleman – combined at that. Though I realized that possibly it wasn’t really that I was nervous, but more so something about Ana that had thrown me off. Nevertheless, I kept my smile on my face that didn’t crack or falter. Her hand was warm in mine, probably noticeably so compared to the fact that I ran pretty cold. It was not something anyone would notice right away, as I never allowed myself to be touched by anyone freely and not for a long period of time. I couldn’t only hope the gloves she wore would distract from that.

I was quite aware of the eyes on us, the way even the orchestra seemed transition into a much smoother tune in hopes of being able to listen in on our conversation.
“Pleasure Ana. I am Joseph, though I have a feeling you know that.” I couldn’t help but give the women a look, one to which turned their confused expressions into ones of embarrassment. I was aware that I would be much closer to Ana now than I had ever been with a woman – well, who’s neck I hadn’t fancied. On cue my eyes flickered toward Ana’s. Smooth and exposed due to her hair being up. if I looked closely, I could see the feint blue vein throb. I swallowed slowly, turning to attention back toward dancing. This came naturally and while I would like to say it was genetics, unfortunately it came with years of dance classes. My hand reached for her’s, lifting it slightly just above her shoulder. I’ll admit, my hand initially was a bit lower than expected, right at the end curve of her spine. Slowly I raised it to its respectful manner.

I was surprised at how well she was able to contain herself, despite me noticing how her breathing quickened the closer we became. Her movements were fluid, beautiful even and she reminded me of a swan effortlessly floating on a lake as we glided along the floor. In a room full of adequate dancers, I had to admit that we both looked very impressive.

I leaned in then, “Please call me Joseph,” I said briefly against her ear. This was a question I had been prepared for. our cover story hadn’t changed in decades.
“My mother inherited er fortune from her father who owns a few factories. My father is a doctor, though he doesn’t practice anymore. He mostly has hands in art dealings and the likes.” My eyes stayed trained on hers. They were the most beautiful shade of brown, wonderfully gentle. They gave her a much softer look, I felt like I had been wrapped in a blanket of the softest velvet – warm with each passing moment we gazed at one another.
“What of yourself? I know you have recently arrived in Edinburgh; an ambitious move for a young woman.” I’d only heard little things about her hear and there, but from my understanding she had come here without her parents. The idea that she was staying with George’s family hinted that maybe the engagement was much more serious than that of their fellow class.

As though listening in on the conversation, I could sense George making his way over. The strong scent of his cologne was a dead giveaway, but that slightly congested tone he had was all that I needed to be sure.
“May I cut in?” I met the not so thrilled George, his eyes a lit with frustration, but the tight smile suggesting he was trying his hardest to hide it. I wanted to say no I realized then, but I had made my point. Whatever that was. I sighed out, smiling toward Ana.
“It was a pleasure, maybe we’ll have a chance again later in the night?” Though by then, it was likely that he would officially make her his fiancé, ring and all. That left a bitter taste in my mouth, one I couldn’t wait to rinse out with champagne.
“I can’t believe you.” Thomas said as he gripped my shoulder. “You definitely surprised me.” I gave him a smile, though my attention was brief. I found I couldn’t tear my eyes off of the lovely lady in blue.
joseph / kshahidx / 6d ago
Sarah and Isabelle were giddy as they interchangeably reviewed and analyzed each handsome and eligible bachelor in the room. I only partially listened to them, even though occasionally they would bump me and narrate some happenings. They were gossipers, too, but they were kind and I appreciated their friendship. They took to me faster than anyone had in the strange city and I found myself now smiling at the pale face of Isabelle, her auburn locks pulled up into an intricate design, and the blonde across from her, Sarah, who’s emerald eyes truly were befitting a queen. Their dresses a bit puffier and more decorated, especially with accessories and jewelry, while I had chosen the subtleness of the sky-blue, but there were intricate silver detailing around the hem, and I wore pearls which were classic as my mother would say, so I tried to tell myself I fit into the group of women dancing and turning about the room. Truth be told I didn’t feel like I did, but it really didn’t matter.
My eyes looked down at my hand where I stared at my finger imagining what it will feel like to have a gold band on that ring finger. I began to feel a slow buzz in my stomach from the tumultuous thoughts rolling around in my mind and I tried to detach myself, finding my eyes land on Mr. Lafontes again. He was chatting with a man and popping small sandwiches into his mouth and my lips tugged into a smile. My stomach also grumbled a bit and I was tempted to approach the table near him to get myself something to eat. Before I could even give myself the pep talk needed for that, his eyes landed back on mine and I froze in place.

“I think he’s looking at us,” Isabelle stammered out and Sarah looked back at me with the widest pupils. Isabelle smacked her arm subtly and they booth peered towards Joseph across the room. The handsome, dark-skinned stranger approached us and I watched as Sarah and Isabelle worked to calm their nerves. They fidgeted with their glass or their layers of fabric, and I simply cocked my head. The closer he approached, the more I realized he wasn’t looking at [i us] but at [i me,] and I sucked in a breath to ready myself. There was a small chance that I was reading into it his body language all wrong and he was instead going to ask Sarah or Isabelle to dance, or maybe pass us all-together.
[i Oh—no no—he’s coming here.]

The girls fretting only increased until he was standing right in front of them. They parted a bit to allow me to step forward so we could all be shoulder-to-shoulder opposite Mr. Lafontes, I in the center and they at my sides. I was taller than them and was surprised to find that Mr. Lafontes was still exceeded my height. My mother would always fuss about it to my father, something about how they were afraid I’d never find a husband because I didn’t have the [i right balance,] whatever that meant.
I watched him bow, my eyes lingering on the back of his head, taking time to admire each piece of fabric, each wrinkle, each part of his ensemble. I looked away, flustered, and my eyes caught George looking suspiciously in my direction. I furrowed my brows and averted my gaze by to Lafontes. He was far better an image than that of my husband-to-be. Sarah and Isabelle almost instantly raised their shoulders and pushed out their curves to accentuate them. I wanted his attention desperately but I knew that I was engaged—Sarah and Isabelle hand open-hands, so against my desires, I was willing to encourage them and be happy for them. That is, until he extended his hand to [i me.] Surely, I could not turn him down then. When I reached out to rest my hand in his, the bodies in the room slowed and all eyes turned to look at me—or so it felt.

“So informal,” I jested, but instantly regretted my words, “my name is Annalise—but you [i may] call me Ana.” I smirked over at him with a playful glint in my eyes. We took a few steps forward and the dancing regained its speed again around us. I was nervous to dance with him, even though I’d been tutored on dancing since I was a small child. Any woman, especially wife, in high society was expected to be an advanced and capable dancer. We walked out onto the lacquered wooden dance floor and I brought my other hand to clasp his hand. The Waltz had just taken England and we were not exempt. The new dance had smitten most of the country, although the close proximity it required was quite controversial in comparison to the much loved and previous preferred Quadrille dance that required little intimacy and was more of a group dance.

Once onto the floor, the classical music clearly started into its waltz and my hand crossed over his torso and his mine. The close proximity and intimacy of the dance made my heart quicken. We were close—my nose nearly touching his as we twirled about the floor. I was speechless—lost in his eyes and his hands—my silken dress lifting with each twirl. Our palms pressed against each other as we moved across the floor with the others, mindful not to bump into them. He was absolutely gorgeous—he smelled [i nice,] too—and my head naturally, without-thought, bent inward towards his chest. It didn’t lay there—no, that would be improper—but I could not help myself. I had so many questions but the dance took much concentration and I was far too enamored to formulate words, but partially through the dance I thought I’d try. “Mr. Lafontes, you appear to be the talk of the ball—and dare I say the city. Tell me, what is it that you and your family does?”
I had seen the woman walking the halls of the school quite a bit. She seemed to always seem in her head, at least I had never once seen her so broadly open her mouth much the same as her friends. Even now, she seemed a bit distracted while they yammered on, their words falling on deaf ears to the average human, but I was fortunate enough to hear the whole thing. Honestly, I tended not to use this skill of mine too much. Humans didn’t really have anything interesting to say and I tried to keep myself out of anything that was deemed salacious and confrontational. I didn’t belong in the spotlight, not in this world at least. Had there been another beauty born of royal blood, I wouldn’t even have to be here. That said, there was always something so enchanting about the mortal world. While our kind could’ve very well settled in a castle far away from humans, never having to contact them unless for food, we could’ve done so. Still, we chose to walk amongst them, entertain their small bouts of conversation whether boring or just a smidge less of boring, and now even participating in their traditions. This, however was the year I couldn’t ignore it and it bugged me so, I turned my attention back to my drink. It didn’t give the same light headed feel of drinking blood, but I enjoyed the buzz.

“I know what it is,” Thomas said to me. We had just returned from the table laid out with little foods and more glasses ready to be filled with champagne. I picked up one of the sandwiches, popping it into my mouth. It was satisfying and he knew it would be out of place if he didn’t act more human. Having the blood of a pureblood vampire and also a human certainly made for interesting genetics. While I was capable of eating human food, for my diet it did nothing. It sated the desire for a difference in taste, but I had always agreed there was nothing quite better than the taste of blood itself.
“Why you’re not dancing with Sophia?” I asked him coyly. We both made eyes across the dancefloor where the freckleface brunette was currently surrounded by three suitors. I found that odd, Sophia and Thomas weren’t exactly a perfect couple, but I had thought they hit it off quite nicely.
“I don’t think her father would be too fond of me looking in her direction,” Thomas said. I rose a brow at him then. “I had a bit too much brandy and things got a tad out of hand on the carriage ride to her place.” I couldn’t help the snort. Thomas never seemed like that kind of guy, he was naturally funny and I thought a guy with a charming personality, even if he wasn’t really top of the class. That said, he at least had an eye for numbers and he could find a respected position to which he would make a perfect husband. As smooth as he tried to make himself out to be though, he was by no means a lady’s man. His worlds would twist around each other and he would make an ass of himself. Though, Sophia had found that cute.
“This isn’t about me though.” I could tell he was trying to brush it off. Despite his wandering eyes, I had noticed how the hazel ones always seemed to land on the woman, and how his heart hammered faster. “This is about you.”
“Oh right me? You were about to enlighten me on my own issue.”
“You’re scared. You’re terrified that this whole handsome and debonair personality of yours is just a façade.” I had to admit, for once his words had caught me off guard.
“I beg your pardon?” My laugh was a bit out of character of me, to which a few eyes looked toward us.
“A façade. Come on Joseph. Looks at all these beautiful women. They would blow their heads off if you were to ask for a dance. Yet year after year you stand here against the wall like some sort of outcast.”
“This is your final dance isn’t it?” I inquired, Thomas then gave me a look and I smirked. “Right right, this is about me.”

He wasn’t too far off. I was a bit unsure how to go about engaging with women knowing that my intentions were far different than those of the men my fellow classmates. It wasn’t an easy topic and surely, I had to find the right one that wouldn’t go running out and running her mouth. Thomas was going on and on, but I was focusing now on a different set of eyes. Her attention hadn’t been on me all night and yet now, shiny brown eyes stared my way. I didn’t really think much of it, or maybe that was a lie. I was a bit taken aback by Thomas’ thoughts of me, no matter how less than right they may have been. Still, as I found more eyes lingering I adjusted the black velvet double breasted coat, my hands smoothing back the wavy textured hair to keep in place.

I had finally approached the little group, noting the flustered faces and the way they immediately perked up. I could hear Thomas in the distance, muttering under his breath; [i I can’t believe this man]. I bowed in their presence, a smile playing on my face before my eyes glanced toward Ana, as I had come to learn her name.
“Ladies,” I introduced. I turned toward Ana though, their eyes bouncing in her direction, perfectly painted lips in an o shape. “Might I have this dance, Ana?” It was stupid, a way to show Thomas that I was in no means a coward. I knew this dance would mean something to everyone else, but come end of the night, she would take the hand of that weasel George.
joseph / kshahidx / 12d ago
My brown doe eyes peered at the pale face reflecting in the large oval mirror of my beloved vanity. I instinctively reached out my petite hand for a last sentimental brush of its clean, mahogany surface, my eyes analyzing the ornate detailing in the wood encompassing the mirror I’d spent years in front of. Intricate designs swirled and etched into the central piece of my childhood bedroom—a heavy sigh escape me. I leaned back and peered over at my large, comfortable bed, precisely made as if I’d be stepping back in it today. The English Georgian four poster bed I’d spent countless nights curled inside, warm and asleep, or awake and attempting to read with the dim oil lamp still sitting cold on the adorning small table beside my bed. My eyes then laid upon the intricate velvet Chateau rug beneath my cream pumps.

“Mrs. Annalise, the carriage has arrived,” the frail Housekeeper peeked around the open door and entered, standing just near the door with her hands clasped in front of her crisp apron. Her grey hairs peeked from beneath her bonnet and I felt tears threatening behind my placid eyes.
“Thank you, Missus Dudley,” I acknowledged her and she gave me an endearing smile. She could see—she always could—and I took a few steps towards her and reached out a silk-gloved hand to rest on her hands. The woman had kept a close and dutiful eye on me as a child-- my parents loving but busy—and I admired her much for it. Although it went against my families’ desired propriety, I found it difficult none-the-less to leave without a sincere goodbye to the woman who, by all accounts, had raised me. A stray tear fell from the corner of my eye and my hand fell from hers as she moved to cup my cheeks and brush away the tear.
“Do not fret, [i My Ana], all will fall into its rightful place—[i I promise,”] she assured me and I let out a burst of held oxygen while simultaneously wrapping my arms around the shoulders of the short woman. She tensed at first, but then her gentle arms encompassed me the best she could and she patted my back. We heard footsteps then and quickly we detached. She maneuvered out of the room and as she did my mother stepped through. Her beautiful face and elegance was yet to be matched but I tried, standing up straighter with my hands gently to my sides. Her smooth skin broke momentarily as she erupted into a smile and patted my arm.

“Annalise, it is time—let us walk,” she gracefully motioned for the door and floated beside me as we passed the familiar walls of my home and my hand mindfully felt the banister as I clutched the railing and descended the stairs with her. My father stood at the steps with his hands behind his back dressed to his best in his black slacks and matching tailcoat. His sideburns also had yet to be matched—my parents were truly a match made in heaven. They stood beside each other before me and my mom genuinely appeared as if she might weep but she did not shed a tear. I wondered if this was because my departure did not affect her or if she was trying to save face and protect me. She was always such a strong and stoic woman that sometimes I could not even read her myself.
“Annalise, please do well to be respectful and poised. I know you will be attending a short finishing school in Edinburgh; you would do well to be steadfast in your studies of poise, grace, and etiquette,” he paused and looked to my mother who nodded.

“Yes, dear; the Taylor’s are a powerful and influential family in the inner-city. This engagement has been a God-sent for this family.” My mother completed my father’s sentiments and I withheld the need to groan. I carefully pushed a dark, almost raven-colored ringlet from my face and nodded solemnly.
“You [i are] aware that he did not request a dowry be paid, yes?” My father inquired and this time I allowed myself to audibly murmur. My mother shot me a shadowed, disapproving look and I glanced away for a moment. [i Of course, I know that. Why must he be so insistent?]
I knew just three months past when George had arrived at Marshrun Manor for a brief stay on business with my father. He had almost immediately inquired about my hand after he had returned home to Edinburgh and my parents were all too joyous to accept the offer. My two young siblings were still too young to think of marriage and it peeved me that I—as well as them, eventually—were objects for my family to give away but yet ‘twas only the culture I had grown understanding. I knew this day was coming; especially since I had come-out to society nearly a year before. Thankfully I had no received any suitors to my families dismay, but once the average-looking businessman from Edinburgh arrived it’s like my family had been saved.

“Remember, also, you shall be staying with their family until the wedding in one month’s time. Dutifully complete your studies and be sure to maintain your and our family’s propriety. It is dangerous for you to be living beneath the same roof; I dare say even blasphemous—but alas this is the choice we have had to make. George ensured that his family and servants had prepared a separate room for you and that you will be supervised at all times. Do not let that mouth run, I plead you,” my brows furrowed together at my father’s near insulting words but I did not need clarification; I knew what he had meant.
My sisters were outside playing and came to a stumbling stop outside the door, throwing open the door, and wrapping me in hugs at my waist. Only six-years-old and twelve, the two youngsters had much to learn about the world. It made my heart ache that they, too, would never be allowed to marry for love. [I Give it time and your heart will grow fonder,] they’d say. How true was it, though? Was my life’s sole purpose about to be to make George happy and procreate as much as possible? The thought sent fear shivering up my spine; I hadn’t even thought on the wedding night… and I did not want to. I patted the girls’ heads and the Coachman approached the now open front door to signify he was ready and the Footman had loaded my bags. I saw the Footman jump onto the back to sit on the exterior rack in the back of the carriage after securing my totes.

I stepped outside and took one last glance at the grounds from the view from our front door. My family’s country-esque home and endless grounds of grass, forest, and gardens were as far as the eye could see. We were part of a minority of high-class homeowners in Brookenshire and I had an endless love for the wilderness and the peace that it brought. The thought of entering the bleak, industrial town of Edinburgh was nothing short of heart-rending and I’d only read about it in books. I sighed heavily and approached the carriage where I could see my wooden trunks strapped to the back. He opened the door for me and extended his hand to assist me in entering the carriage. I could hear the horses impatiently kicking their hooves against the cobbled pathway. Once positioned inside I suddenly sat and swung the door back open.

“My book!” I called out and Missus Dudley skipped as best she could in her old age to the carriage to hand me the book I’d been working on the past few days. I felt her hand hold my hand for a prolonged moment and she smiled up at me again with elated eyes that quelled the storms in my heart if even just for this brief moment. “I will see you again soon,” I promised her. She nodded and let go, taking a few steps back and stopping short. A few lengths behind her I looked up to see my two siblings with tears in their eyes and my mother reaching around to pat them on their shoulders, my father beside them stoically watching my departure. I heard the Coachman whip the reins then and the carriage lurched forward. Tears began to sting and prickle now, finally alone to my thoughts as my fond childhood home grew smaller as each moment passed by. I eventually had to tear my face away to look down at my fidgeting hands where I vigorously played with the satin silk green fabric of my travelling dress. I rested my head back on the cushioned and pleated silk interior of the carriage and closed my eyes. [i Please Lord, let me be happy.]
[center ____ ]

The day of the ball had arrived and I was brimming with excitement as well as apprehension. This would have been a wonderful and far more exhilarating time if it weren’t for the fact that I was betrothed and the thought was hard to peel off my mind. I hoped that tonight would still bring fun and laughter and shed some positivity on this dreary existence I was about to commit to for the rest of my life. The other girls I had made friends with at the finishing school I attended in the bustling city of Edinburgh were starry-eyed with hopes of waves of handsome men and the potential for a husband. A few were already engaged like myself, but most viewed this night as the dance that would change their lives. I was woven by the same cloth so I understood their excitement even if I was the rogue who felt far better free from commitment and responsibility.

Many of them had ornately, beautifully hand-crafted dresses and George had allowed me the same. I chose a beautiful satin sky-blue dress with silver detailing and white elbow high white gloves. The servants at Mansfield House, the Taylor’s family home in Edinburgh, worked diligently and I had befriended a couple of them—in secret, of course. Emelia was a blue-eyed blonde with a pretty round, pale face and peach lips. She could have been royalty had it not been for the misgivings of her birthname. It peeved me and I longed for a society in which everyone mattered and could choose to be in any class they liked. How silly to base such a thing on maiden names.
Emelia worked on my messy long raven-hair, coiling it up and pinning it into place. She was cheery and excited for me; she was barely 19-years-old, a contrast to my cynical 24-year-old mind.
“Are you excited, my lady?” She asked as she continued to arrange my hair.
“Of course—I suppose. I just wish I could attend—[i alone.”] I whispered the last word and Emelia nodded. At first, I had been fearful to be honest with Emelia. But once it was explained to me that she would become my personal servant and she explained her role and her loyalty to me, I had finally opened up to her. She was easy to talk to, someone I’d consider a genuine friend if not for the hierarchal society I lived in.
“I understand, my lady, but what can we do?” She sighed with me, “He’s not so bad, the Mister, just give him a chance—it takes him a while to be himself. He hardly is even with the family and us servants, I dare even say himself,” she giggled then and I joined her. She was right—I needed to be less judgmental—but he just made me feel so uneasy and uncomfortable. He was awkward to talk to and he wasn’t exactly the most handsome either. I had so many things to say and to do and I felt stifled by his presence; like I wasn’t to speak or he had not time. I needed someone to challenge me; to trust in my intelligence; to not treat me like just a woman but an individual. I sighed audibly and Emelia patted my shoulder before clipping on my pearl earrings and necklace. We quickly worked to tighten up the gown around me, the blue satin falling effortlessly. My hand ran over the smooth surface, the bodice tightening just beneath my breasts. The height of fashion now, something always moving and changing. My hair was up tightly as well, the few intricately and specifically placed curls framing my face. She had dusted me with powder, darkened my brows and lashes, and placed a pink rouge on my cheeks, the finishing touch was pink-red lip-stain. I took a finishing look in the mirror before thanking Emilia.

“One day you will be able to participate in the festivities—I swear it!” I playfully said to her and she blushed, “Also, again, Emelia, please call me Ana when we’re in private, I’d really prefer it but I know they wouldn’t,” I motioned to the wall facing the main living area where the family most certainly was awaiting my descent from the stairs to leave. Emelia nodded to me before opening the door and I strode out in my cream-colored pumps, holding my dress closely to my knees as I descended the stairs. George Taylor awaited me at the bottom and I dare say I think I saw him smile but when I met him at the stairs and took his arm, he coughed obnoxiously without a word while guiding us out the door. The carriage awaited us, the impatient white steeds again clicking their hooves. I wanted to ride them freely, but in town there was not that ability and my heart lurched again as I remember the feeling of galloping through the land at Mansfield Manor—[i home.]

I felt strange on his arm and couldn’t let go of it faster when we arrived at the Crescent Ball. Bodies lined the dance hall where synchronized dancing took place within the center. George was apprehensive to let me go but my friends approached me and I disappeared with them with a last glance in his direction. He looked as if he wanted to say something but instead he walked toward a friend of his and that was it. I hoped he wouldn’t ask to dance but I was slowly coming to terms with the fact that I possibly had no choice but to start forcing myself into these awkward positions. It needed to happen because I was definitely marrying this man, one-way-or-another, no matter how I felt.
I half-listened to the group coo around me, pointing out attractive men around the room as they danced or strode by and I tried to smile but my mind was lost. That was until I spotted a man across the room—nearly ethereal, I had an insatiable need to grow closer, a morbid curiosity washing over me. He was mysterious, even as he stood with hooded eyes beside another man, there was something peculiar about him.
“Who is that man?” I questioned and the girls looked to me with mouths agape.
“We told you, we were just talking about it Annalise, were you not listening?” I gave them an awkward smile and small shrug and they rolled their eyes but repeated themselves.

“That’s Joseph Laphontes. The family moved here a few years ago but they don’t talk to people often and keep the themselves. I’m not even quite sure what they do, my father doesn’t either. But they’re pretty wealthy; even more so than that, though, they all look otherworldly. I’ve only met a few Lafontes, but they’re all really beautiful. Of course, Joseph is the most. Every girl in this room would like to be chosen by him, yet he has not picked a lady. Talk of the town, though, is that he’s looking—tonight.” Sarah turned into Isabelle and they began to giggle, attempting to look inconspicuous. My eyes hadn’t lost his face from across the room, though, and I mentally hoped that maybe—just maybe—he’d ask me to dance.
Annalise Clarke / Seka / 12d ago
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[Cinzel+Decorative [b [size27 [u Edinburgh Times]]]]]
[center [font “times” [I Brockenhurst terrorized by slayings! The city hasn’t seen the likes of a serial killer since the arrest of Tallmadge Lincoln. After finally ending his three year stretch of terrorizing women, London never felt any more safer. Though it seems we may once again be at the mercy, beleaguered even by what could be the greatest monster of all time. With twenty homicides, and sixteen disappearances all falling under the same motive, detectives have reason to believe that we may be dealing with more than one person. Unfortunately, there seems to be no clue as to who this group is targeting as their choice in victims seem completely random. The latest being our very own Lady of Dupoint, Amelia Tyson who’s charred remains could only be identified by the engagement ring left behind in a pool of ashes.

As the search continues, we urge all citizens to please remain safe and adhere by local curfews . . .]]]
[center [pic https://i.imgur.com/U1tiEKD.png?2]]

[I Another one]. She was getting closer. My hands instinctively gripped the paper I held tighter, amber eyes quickly scanning the words beneath the thick bold title of the newsletter. My brows furrowed deeply, the paper tossed onto my bed before I rested my head against the ivory headboard. This was the most recent reporting and yet, there were many details that had been left out. Such as the lack of concealing bodies, as though whoever killed these people had no care whether they were caught or not and yet left no trace detectable by the [I human] eye. Not to mention that in earlier cases there were those whose bodies seemed maimed beyond the power of the average human nor even machinery; bones snapped under such large pressure or crushed to nearly fine powder. While there has been no strand of evidence left, there is the terrible fear that these [I people] would never be caught and I and my family knew very much the reason for that.

It was the first handful of killings that gave their suspects away: all of their victims were taken or killed at [I night]. I made my way out of the bd, the soft wine red sheets falling effortlessly from my nude frame. My speed in doors was startling, as were many of my inhuman qualities in the comfort of my home. I made my way toward the bathroom, where Madeline, the house maid awaited to help in preparing me for the day. She’d recently been fed on I could tell, her body jittering with endorphins from the bite. It could become addicting and for. that reason, it didn’t take much in getting her to remain quiet about our secret.

We were unlike the others that inhabited Edinburgh. While our wealth could be matched, there was a certain air about us, the Lafontes, that seemed otherworldly. A charm that could persuade a snake into submission, beautiful smooth skin, and eyes that seemed nearly hypnotic. Yet it was our hidden qualities which truly set us apart; sharpened teeth that would spring into action when the intense desire for blood would present itself, strength and speed that came nowhere close to average and on rare occasions, supernatural gifts. Some of us were bitten, changed and not always by choice. Then there were those like me, pure blooded vampires. Though, the blood that coursed through my veins was the purest of all.

“Sleep well?” Madeline asked with a small smile. I couldn’t help but smirk back at her joke. While the need to sleep was nonexistent for most vampires, I and my family were the rare few known as day walkers. While direct and intense exposure to light could be the end to us, under most circumstances we could walk during the day and as so, we did become easily exhausted. Especially so if we hadn’t fed on human blood for a certain amount of time. While we could sustain on animal blood, maintaining our health depended on finding victims, sometimes willing like Madeline, to feed on.

“Excellent,” I said. Madeline was aware of my patrol last night. Though while she believed I had been out feeding, I had taken it upon myself to do my own detective work. I knew if Cassius found out he would be truly upset, but he had to be just as disturbed about the killings as me. We both knew that there was a chance these were attacks ordered by someone we had been running from for quite some time: Akasha.

Madeline dusted off my coat as I adjusted my tie, my eyes falling on my own reflection in the mirror. I was much taller than her, though with a stool she managed to reach my broad shoulders easier. She soon turned her attention to my dark locks, brushing them back until they lay perfectly flat and styled, no stray hair to be seen.

I knew that Cassius would find my belief that Akasha less than possible, but we both knew it wasn’t improbable. She had been nearly close in finding and killing me once before two hundred years prior. I knew her interest in me more so lied on assuring I be killed, leaving her one step closer in become powerful enough to control all vampires. But, it was my father who she truly wanted.

“There all set.” Madeline said, her hand reaching up to rub against her neck, the bite marks bright red and swollen, a stark contrast to her paling skin.
“You know I warn you of indulging so early in the morning,” I said to her. Too much of a good thing wasn’t always so good of course. She waved her hand at me, leading the way out of my bedroom and through the halls of the two story mansion. We had lived in the home for only but five years, many of our treasures from the places we visited now decorations lining walls and expensive and ornate furniture.
“How am I to deny Lord Cyrus?” I could hear the sound of Cassius and Aisha talking downstairs, momentarily distracted.
“I’m sure that should be no problem truly if Naima catches you two.” Everyone knew that vampires were especially controlling of their partners. Feeding was no issue, but Naima was more of the type to dispose of her food when finished. Madeline had become something of a permanent member of the family by now though. She had been rescued by Cassius and taken in, though the kindhearted man grew a soft spot when he heard of her tale of abuse. He’d given her the chance to be changed or remain humans, a choice Madeline had yet to make. Some part of me believed she enjoyed the feeling of being taken by Cyrus, it was different when you were human. And there were some vampires that hated every bit of the life as a creature of the night.

I didn’t know if I had the choice whether I would decide not to be a vampire. Some part of me was curious about the life of a human, the cycle from birth to death. Yet, the power of a vampire was undeniably something unmatched and for me, it was the one thing I was unwilling to give up.
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As I entered the foyer, I was welcomed by the four members of my family, which as always wasn’t the best of signs. Without introduction, I already was quite aware as to what the discussion would entail. It had been weeks since the second quarter and as the Crescent Ball was coming up, I was being pressured into finding a partner of my own. Maintaining the blood line was important, as if it were true Akasha were close to finding me, assuring my blood lived on was of most importance.

I grabbed my leather satchel and began to fill it with my books.
“This is much too early,” I said with a sigh, leaning against the fireplace then and meeting the eyes of the others. Cassius and Aisha had been changed by my father before he went back into slumber. It was their duty to protect me from Akasha who was furious as my father Enkil had abandoned her side for a human. While she had succeeded in killing my mother, she had not reached the family home in time before all three of us fled. Cyrus and Naima joined us afterwards.

Naima had only shortly joined us a year before, completely infatuated with Cyrus, who Cassius had met during the time of war, harboring him in our home to keep him safe.
“This is not about what you think it is.” Cassius said, his hands stroking his beard thoughtfully as he rose a brow at me. I sighed out, looking over my shoulder at Madeline who quickly disappeared around the corner she was peeking from. She never could keep a secret.

“Do you want to be killed?” Aisha asked. “You know how dangerous it is to go out alone and even more so if you have any belief that Akasha is lurking in the shadows.” I rolled my tongue in my mouth.
“We know it’s not just her. I was hoping I could find a clue that would lead me to [I who] is helping her –”
“Keeping you safe Joseph is the utmost importance,” Cassius’ gravelly voice interrupted. He walked over toward me, his hands adjusting the tie I wore. “Don’t worry about Akasha. You should be focusing on the ball.” I couldn’t help but roll my eyes, though I knew I couldn’t evade this topic any longer. I had reached my prime, a year when my father would awake and if I were to successfully drink from him, my power would supersede those of even the strongest: Akasha, who along with my father had been one the first known vampires to walk this earth. The sound of the bell chiming, announcing the hour to head to Winston, thankfully rang.
“I understand,” I said. I had come to respect Cassius and in every way he had been the only father I had known. Cassius gave me a small smile, patting my cheek affectionately.
“Good then, go on your way.”
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“The selection looks mighty fine this year,” Thomas whispered as he gripped my shoulder tight. I snorted at his enthusiasm, though I knew this was something he had been looking for. though, despite his interest in a particular Sophia, he seemed to still have the wandering eye. I had tried my best to keep to myself, but Thomas made that impossible and I admit that his presence made classes all the more bearable. Finally, I would no longer endure these same lessons after this year. Though, I hadn’t told anyone how that thought kind of terrified me.

I should’ve been like my friend, my eyes scanning the faces of the beautiful women, deciding who would be worthy enough to take as my wife. This was no easy task, as they would be welcomed into a world that was enticing, but hard to grasp considering our kind were not known beyond the scopes of fantasy.
“I have my eye on her particularly,” Thomas said, nodding his chin toward one of the newest females in town. It had been a little over three weeks since her arrival and there was quite the buzz, but I had believed her to be spoken for already. Nonetheless, that didn’t seem to matter to Thomas and I must admit, she was beautiful to look at.
joseph / kshahidx / 15d ago